Tag:Alabama
Posted on: April 22, 2011 1:00 pm
 

St. Louis Rams Draft Breakdown

St. Louis Rams 2010 record: 7-9, second place NFC West

2011 draft rundown    Seven total picks (round): 14 (1); 47 (2); 78 (3); 112 (4); 145 (5); 216 (7) 228 (7)

Top needs:   

Wide receiver: The arrival of Josh McDaniels as offensive coordinator seemingly makes it likely that more playmakers would be added. Complicating the situation are injury issues facing Donnie Avery, who missed the entire 2010 season with a knee injury, Mark Clayton, who missed the final 11 games with a knee injury and is a free agent, and Danario Alexander, who had had five surgeries on his left knee. McDaniels has been successful in the past without what would be considered elite pass-catchers.

Safety: James Butler has been a disappointment in his two seasons with the team, and Craig Dahl is a solid backup, but shouldn't be a starter. What's needed at the position is an all-around player that can be a tough run-stopper and defends the pass. With Oshiomogho Atogwe having signed with Washington, an obvious replacement is needed. There are only three safeties currently on the roster: Dahl, James Butler and Darian Stewart

Running back: The search continues for a viable and productive back behind Steven Jackson. The ideal would be a complement to Jackson, who could keep defenses honest with the ability to get to the edges consistently.

Guard: The Rams had their best success running the ball last season when John Greco was sharing time with Adam Goldberg at right guard. But because of some injuries at tackle, the Rams had Renardo Foster active instead of Greco for the final eight games of the season. The running game suffered as Goldberg had to play virtually every snap.


First-round focus   14th overall -- The St. Louis Rams would love to see a playmaking wide receiver like Alabama's Julio Jones somehow slip to them, but that isn't likely to happen. There are some rumblings throughout the league that if the team isn't able to get a speedster to take advantage of Sam Bradford's arm, the Rams might reach a bit to draft Notre Dame tight end Kyle Rudolph, who could become the security blanket in the middle many teams like to provide their young, developing signal-callers. The Rams have also shown a great deal of interest in adding a running back to take some of the burden off of Pro Bowler Steven Jackson and could surprise with Mark Ingram. Depth at the position and greater needs elsewhere, however, make this unlikely. A more likely scenario might have the Rams looking to address the need for more youth, playmaking ability on the defensive line. Head coach Steve Spagnuolo deserves a great deal of credit for piecing together a productive defensive line last year largely with duct tape, but might have a hard time passing up a stout defensive tackle like Illinois' Corey Liuget or a pass rusher such as Missouri's Aldon Smith, should either be available at No. 14.

Five names on Rams' board:   

WR Julio Jones, Alabama
DT Corey Liuget, Illinois
DE Aldon Smith, Missouri
RB Mark Ingram, Alabama
TE Kyle Rudolph, Notre Dame


Posted on: April 19, 2011 12:53 pm
 

Miami Dolphins Draft Preview

MIAMI DOLPHINS

2010 record: 7-9, third place AFC East

2011 draft rundown

  Eight total picks (round): 15 (1), 79 (3), 111 (4), 146 (5), 179 (6), 217 (7), 218 (7), 235 (7)

Top needs:

Running back: With their top three running backs from the past three seasons all free agents - Ronnie Brown, Ricky Williams and Patrick Cobbs - there's a clear and obvious need in the offensive backfield. They seem certain to draft a running back in the first few rounds, possibly even at No. 15 overall.

Guard/Center: Only left tackle Jake Long and left guard/center Richie Incognito seem assured of a starting spot after a disappointing 2010 for this unit. Dolphins coach Tony Sparano admitted it was a mistake to keep rotating his interior line last season, so it's possible the Dolphins will spend a first-round pick on help at this important area.

Speed wide receiver: Brian Hartline is a former state champion hurdler in Ohio but he doesn't stretch defenses the way Ted Ginn Jr. once did. Someone like Julio Jones or Torrey Smith would fit nicely opposite Brandon Marshall, allowing Davone Bess more room to roam the middle as well.

Quarterback: Chad Henne has made 27 starts in the NFL but has a losing record (13-14) and lacks the full support of his bosses. The Dolphins have spent their first-round pick on a quarterback just twice in franchise history, and each time they came away with a future Hall of Famer (Bob Griese and Dan Marino).

First round focus

  15th overall

  -- Under head coach Tony Sparano, the Dolphins have built a powerful rushing attack but have had only limited success in their passing game despite the addition of star receiver Brandon Marshall. With their top two running backs scheduled for unrestricted free agency, the Dolphins may be looking to the draft as a replacement for Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams. As such, Alabama's Mark Ingram is a popular choice for the Dolphins in mock drafts. Should the team elect to go in another direction, local standout Mike Pouncey would fill a clear area of need in the middle and would be a nice public relations move. The need for size and strength on the interior of the offensive line is especially important for the Dolphins considering that they face three teams operating out of the 3-4 in the AFC East division. Adding a speed receiver to compliment Marshall and to put Davone Bess in his more natural slot position could go a long way in fixing the Dolphins' passing game. On the other hand, should Miami decide that they've seen enough of Chad Henne, the team could opt instead for a new quarterback. Arkansas' Ryan Mallett, Washington's Jake Locker and Nevada's Colin Kaepernick are all thought to be high on the Dolphins' board.

Five names on Dolphins' board

  -- OC Mike Pouncey, Florida
  -- RB Mark Ingram, Alabama
  -- QB Ryan Mallett, Arkansas
  -- QB Jake Locker, Washington
  -- WR Julio Jones, Alabama



Posted on: April 19, 2011 12:53 pm
 

Miami Dolphins Draft Preview

MIAMI DOLPHINS

2010 record: 7-9, third place AFC East

2011 draft rundown

  Eight total picks (round): 15 (1), 79 (3), 111 (4), 146 (5), 179 (6), 217 (7), 218 (7), 235 (7)

Top needs:

Running back: With their top three running backs from the past three seasons all free agents - Ronnie Brown, Ricky Williams and Patrick Cobbs - there's a clear and obvious need in the offensive backfield. They seem certain to draft a running back in the first few rounds, possibly even at No. 15 overall.

Guard/Center: Only left tackle Jake Long and left guard/center Richie Incognito seem assured of a starting spot after a disappointing 2010 for this unit. Dolphins coach Tony Sparano admitted it was a mistake to keep rotating his interior line last season, so it's possible the Dolphins will spend a first-round pick on help at this important area.

Speed wide receiver: Brian Hartline is a former state champion hurdler in Ohio but he doesn't stretch defenses the way Ted Ginn Jr. once did. Someone like Julio Jones or Torrey Smith would fit nicely opposite Brandon Marshall, allowing Davone Bess more room to roam the middle as well.

Quarterback: Chad Henne has made 27 starts in the NFL but has a losing record (13-14) and lacks the full support of his bosses. The Dolphins have spent their first-round pick on a quarterback just twice in franchise history, and each time they came away with a future Hall of Famer (Bob Griese and Dan Marino).

First round focus

  15th overall

  -- Under head coach Tony Sparano, the Dolphins have built a powerful rushing attack but have had only limited success in their passing game despite the addition of star receiver Brandon Marshall. With their top two running backs scheduled for unrestricted free agency, the Dolphins may be looking to the draft as a replacement for Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams. As such, Alabama's Mark Ingram is a popular choice for the Dolphins in mock drafts. Should the team elect to go in another direction, local standout Mike Pouncey would fill a clear area of need in the middle and would be a nice public relations move. The need for size and strength on the interior of the offensive line is especially important for the Dolphins considering that they face three teams operating out of the 3-4 in the AFC East division. Adding a speed receiver to compliment Marshall and to put Davone Bess in his more natural slot position could go a long way in fixing the Dolphins' passing game. On the other hand, should Miami decide that they've seen enough of Chad Henne, the team could opt instead for a new quarterback. Arkansas' Ryan Mallett, Washington's Jake Locker and Nevada's Colin Kaepernick are all thought to be high on the Dolphins' board.

Five names on Dolphins' board

  -- OC Mike Pouncey, Florida
  -- RB Mark Ingram, Alabama
  -- QB Ryan Mallett, Arkansas
  -- QB Jake Locker, Washington
  -- WR Julio Jones, Alabama



Posted on: April 17, 2011 6:00 pm
 

New York Giants Draft Preview

NEW YORK GIANTS
   2010 record: 10-6, second place NFC East
 
2011 draft rundown
   Eight total picks -- 19th overall, 52 (2nd Round), 83 (3rd), 117 (4th), 185 (6th), 198 (6th), 202 (6th), 221 (7th)
 
Top needs
   Center -- Starter Shaun O'Hara is aging and ailing, as is backup Rich Seubert. Both are rehabbing surgeries and may not be available for the start of training camp.
   Defensive Tackle -- Starter Barry Cofield is coming off a strong season and could be tempted by a big free agent contract. Though the Giants selected DT Linval Joseph in the second round, they may need more depth with veteran Rocky Bernard turning 32 by the time next season begins.
   Linebacker -- The Giants have struggled to fill this role with recent draft picks and with the team not likely to re-sign free agents Wilkinson, Keith Bulluck, and Chase Blackburn, New York will probably add another linebacker to their mix for depth, and hope that Sintim is ready for a full-time role in 2011.
   Safety -- Deon Grant will be an unrestricted free agent, and has, in the past, stated a desire to be a starter again. Meanwhile last year's third-round pick, Chad Jones, is not expected to be ready to play in 2011 as he continues his rehab from serious injuries suffered in a car accident last June. With the Giants not tendering their other safety, Michael Johnson, a former sixth-round pick, this position becomes very thin if Grant departs.
 
First-round focus
   19th overall
   -- Following the season, general manager Jerry Reese and head coach Tom Coughlin each made it clear that injuries to starters and a lack of depth at key positions were the culprits for a disappointing season. The Giants were hit hardest by injury at center and along the defensive line, making these two areas a focus in the first round. Florida center Mike Pouncey would make a lot of sense due to his size, toughness, and durability. He also possesses the charismatic personality to handle the pressures of playing in New York. Under Reese, the Giants have been extraordinarily aggressive in re-stocking talent along the defensive line and may elect to take advantage of this year's bounty of run-stuffers and pass-rushers likely to be available at the No. 19 pick. Safety and linebacker, while clear concerns, simply don't offer the quality of prospects to consider so early. Those looking for a darkhorse candidate for the Giants might want to key on Alabama running back Mark Ingram. Not only would the son of former Giants' standout wide receiver be a popular selection with fans, his consistency, toughness and ball-security would be a welcome addition to a backfield that didn't always boast their characteristics with incumbent starters Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs.
 
Five names on the Falcons' board
   C Mike Pouncey, Florida
   OT Anthony Castonzo, Boston College
   DT Corey Liuget, Illinois
   DT Nick Fairley, Auburn
   RB Mark Ingram, Alabama


Posted on: April 16, 2011 10:43 pm
 

Teams are red-flagging DT Phil Taylor's feet

Every year there are players who slip on draft day and leave all of us befuddled. Later, we typically find out that the player had medical concerns pop up, leading to the unfortunate drop.

Injury concerns have led to unstable stock for Clemson defensive end Da'Quan Bowers and Alabama running back Mark Ingram this year. They aren't the only first round talents being downgraded due to medical red-flags, I'm being told.

Baylor defensive tackle Phil Taylor, himself a veteran of 43 games played, is also under scrutiny. Apparently during his Combine check, there were various injuries that caused teams some concern, the most serious of which involves both feet.

Taylor, according to MRIs taken at the Combine, has bones growing together in his feet. The condition, which according to the source is not correctable through surgery, is a pain tolerance issue. Considering that Taylor played much of his senior season at 330-340 pounds -- and has allowed his weight to get into the 380s in the past -- teams are concerned that his weight will only make the injury tougher to handle.

"If he was a 190 pound player, it might be different. Or, if he was an older player and you were only signing him for a few years, it might be different," a source said. "But, it is pretty hard to invest a first round pick in a player who you know coming in is being red-flagged by the doctors."

"This isn't just our team, by the way. Every team gets the MRIs. Every other team is seeing this too."

I tested that theory, as it is important to remember that this is the time of year for NFL sources insinuating the truth (and, in the cases of some, flat-out lying) in an effort to push players down the board. Therefore, I contacted other sources within the league and did confirm with another source that Taylor's injuries were being red-flagged by his team's doctors, as well.

 


Posted on: April 6, 2011 1:21 pm
 

Only Seahawks show up for McElroy's Pro Day

The Seattle Seahawks were the only team represented at Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy's Pro Day workout yesterday.

McElroy had been unable to throw at the Combine or the Tide's initial Pro Day after fracturing a bone in his throwing hand during the Senior Bowl. Though his production was impressive for Alabama , scouts worry that he doesn't have the arm strength to make throws outside of the hashes against NFL speed.

Much of the workout can be seen on the video shown below. The video was shot by Michael Casagrande of The Daily Bama Blog:

McElroy measured 6017 (an eighth of an inch under 6-2) and 220 pounds at the Combine. As one would expect based on his play at Alabama, McElroy demonstrates good accuracy on short to intermediate throws, including when on the move. His accuracy falters on deeper passes and his passes arrive with only moderate zip, overall.

Still, the workout provides evidence that McElroy is healing. He is viewed as a 5th-6th round pick as NFLDraftScout.com's 10th rated quarterback . While he lacks the upside of a Josh Portis (Cal-PA) or Nathan Enderle (Idaho), if nothing else McElroy's intelligence and game-management skills make him an ideal backup.

The video shows two representatives for the Seahawks, southeast scout Derrick Jensen and quarterbacks coach Carl Smith.

Here is the video:





Posted on: April 5, 2011 2:03 pm
 

Scouts heading to KSU, 'Bama for late Pro Days

Over the next few hours we can expect to hear the results from late pro days for Kansas State running back Daniel Thomas and Alabama quarterback Greg McElroy .

Regardless of how each performs in shorts, their NFL grade should have largely been already determined by scouts, as Thomas and McElroy's production on the field speaks for itself.

The 6-0, 230 pound Thomas proved a star running back for the Wildcats after a junior college career in which he played quarterback. Thomas was recognized as the Big 12's Offensive Newcomer of the Year in 2009 and led the conference in rushing yards each of his two seasons with the Wildcats. He leaves KSU with 2,850 rushing yards and 30 touchdowns on the ground in only two seasons.

McElroy led Alabama to a national championship in his junior season and saw his production rise dramatically in 2010. In his two starting seasons in the Tide's pro-style offense, McElroy threw 37 touchdowns and only nine interceptions. McElroy, 6-2 and 220 pounds, threw just 10 interceptions in 658 career attempts or for one every 65.8 attempts, which is the best mark in school and SEC history.

Despite their gaudy production against high caliber competition, each has significant questions to answer -- not the least of which is their health.

Thomas, NFLDraftScout.com's fifth-rated running back of the 2011 draft, was unable to play in the Senior Bowl or perform in either the Combine or KSU's initial Pro Day due to a nagging hamstring injury.

McElroy did play in the Senior Bowl, but cracked a bone in his right (throwing) hand that sidelined him for the Combine throwing session and Alabama's initial Pro Day.

The biggest question scouts have about Thomas is his speed. He has been estimated at anywhere between 4.55 and 4.70 in the 40-yard dash. Obviously, the better he does Tuesday, the higher his stock could raise. Scouts would also like to see Thomas catch passes out of the backfield. Thomas caught 27 passes as a senior, but rarely anything more complicated than screens or simple swing passes.

For McElroy, NFLDraftScout.com's 10th rated quarterback , the question is about his arm strength, or, as the case may be, his lack of it. McElroy has enough zip to fit through windows down the middle, but struggled, at times, putting enough drive on the ball on passes outside of the hashes. Too often his deep passes fluttered, as well.

NFLDraftScout.com will keep you posted on how each all-conference star does in their workouts today.

Posted on: April 4, 2011 1:25 pm
Edited on: April 4, 2011 1:26 pm
 

McElroy to work out Tuesday

Alabama QB Greg McElroy and TE/FB Preston Dial are scheduled to work out in Tuscaloosa on Tuesday along with South Alabama WR Courtney Smith, according to a report by NFL.com.

McElroy, who is rated as a fifth-round pick by NFLDraftScout.com, had surgery on his throwing hand for an injury suffered at the Senior Bowl and was unable to throw at the scouting combine or at Alabama's pro day. Dial has been bothered by a sports hernia. Undersized to play a traditional tight end role in the NFL, he's viewed as a potential late-round pick as an H-Back prospect.

McElroy worked with Smith at the Senior Bowl, and it will be a vital workout for the raw wideout. Smith was not invited to the combine and is also viewed as a late-round prospect or priority free agent by NFLDraftScout.com. He has excellent size at 6-feet-4 and 223 pounds, and would benefit greatly if he can improve upon his 4.65 40.

--Derek Harper, NFLDraftScout.com Executive Editor
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com